Same gym, same opponent, same stakes.
The Todd Beamer High School girls basketball team just hoped this time around, facing Arlington in the Class 4A regional playoff game with its first trip to the Tacoma Dome on the line, the end result would change.
Jayla Russ had a coming-out party against Beamer in last year’s regional round. She was at it again Saturday, scoring 13 of her 15 points after halftime, and No. 10 Arlington ended the seventh-ranked Titans’ season with a 35-33 overtime victory at Puyallup High School.
“I think our girls just clamped up,” Beamer coach Corey Alexander said. “Instead of playing, they were thinking about the stakes — playing not to lose.”
Arlington advances to the state tournament for the ninth time in school history. Beamer will have to wait a little longer for its first state experience.
The Eagles (20-4) beat Beamer, 50-42, in last year’s regional round. They went on to lose to Mead, 58-42, in the 4A state title game.
“This was a war again, just like last year,” Arlington coach Joe Marsh said. “I told them, ‘This is what we’ve worked hard for all year long. We put ourselves in this kind of position, and if we get out of here with a win, here we go, we are going to Tacoma.’ That’s what it’s all about.”
Arlington looked as if it might end the game in regulation, taking a 31-26 lead on Russ’ two free throws with about 3½ minutes remaining. But Beamer went on a 7-0 run, capping it with a 3-pointer from Quinessa Caylao-Do for a 33-31 lead with 1:36 to go.
After an Arlington basket, Beamer couldn’t get the ball inbounds with 26.2 seconds remaining and turned it over to Arlington. The Titans forced an over-and-back violation, and Nia Alexander’s 3-point attempt with 1.1 seconds remaining went off the front of the rim as the game headed to overtime.
Russ scored Arlington’s only basket in the extra period. It was all the Eagles needed.
“I felt like I needed to be more aggressive to get the team motivated,” said Russ, who scored 15 against Beamer last year, too. “I just wanted to score.”
Beamer had more turnovers in overtime (five) than points (none). Ball control and rebounding were the Titans’ undoing — turning it over 25 times and allowing 16 offensive rebounds.
Hawaii-bound Megan Huff led the Titans with 13 points, and Caylao-Do scored 12.
Beamer (23-3) lost its final two games of the season without point guard Bria Rice (chipped collarbone). Arlington was the first team other than Mount Rainier to beat the Titans this year.
“Normally we can rely on Bria to control the tempo,” said Alexander, who pointed to her absence as a significant factor in the team’s turnover margin. “But I just think it was a bit of nerves. We were here last year, and I think people were thinking, ‘We can’t get beat again,’ instead of just playing.
“Somebody had to win. Somebody had to lose. They just came out a little more intense than we did.”
Beamer 77, Bothell 41: Trey Burch-Manning led the fifth-ranked Titans with 12 points, but Beamer had plenty of other help. Four players finished in double figures, and eight Titans made 3-pointers as Beamer (21-4) used a team effort to accomplish what no other team in school history has done — advance to the round of eight at the Tacoma Dome.
“Since our goal is to win state, we just had to come out here and make a statement,” Burch-Manning said. “We still just want to hold up the trophy at the end of the year.”
If Beamer storms to a 17-point halftime lead, shoots 48 percent in the first half and holds teams to 2-for-28 shooting (7.1 percent) from the 3-point line as it did Saturday in Puyallup, the Titans have a good chance to do so.
Minnesota signee Josh Martin led Bothell (16-10) with 19 points after entering the game averaging 27.2. The 6-foot-9 post scored a season-high 44 against Woodinville on Jan. 17. He was pulled with about 2½ minutes remaining Saturday to a standing ovation.
Bogdan Bliznyuk and Rayvonne Freeman each had 11 points for the Titans, and Giovanni Jackson contributed 10. Quadir Williams had six points and eight assists.
“A lot of people continue to tell me this is the first time in history Beamer has gone to the final eight, and first time in school history we won the district championship,” Beamer coach Winston Bell said. “Why not make it the trifecta and make it the first time we win state?”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677; firstname.lastname@example.org; @Cotterill44